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Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

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Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

The Old People Are Revolting (Australian Edition)

By Devon Williamson Do not copy, distribute or perform without permission. All rights reserved. For Australian performance information please contact: David Spicer Productions 274 Military Road Dover Heights NSW 2030 Australia Web: www.davidspicer.com.au PH: 02 9371 8458 Fax: 02 9371 8458

Information on other plays by Devon Williamson is also available at his website: www.dwplays.com

Characters... Patricia: Resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Patricia has an air of education and sophistication about her that is unmatched by the other residents. She has led the other residents to believe she was a High Court Judge when in fact she was a Clerk of the Court. Dreams of being in charge of a landmark court case. Howie: Resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Former car salesman. A little crass and on the lookout for some fun. He sees himself

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as a bit of a ladies man but unfortunately the ladies could not be less interested in him. He has a son. Never married. Looking for love. Shirley: Resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Suffering from the effects of drugs and wild living of the 1960's making her quick tempered, rather dramatic and erratic. For some reason only known to herself she steals mail and makes copies for her files. Her claim to fame is her union role in the 1968 textile workers lockout. Looking for one last opportunity to "stick it to the man". Peggy: Resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Former seamstress for a suit manufacturer. Peggy is a kind, gentle and insightful woman who is never separated from her latest cross-stitch project. Looking for company. Doug: Newest resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Recently and reluctantly retired from his farm after his wife passed away. He hates the retirement village because there is nothing to do... everything works so there is nothing to fix. Looking for something to do. Elizabeth: Resident of the Sunshine Retirement Village. The oldest character by quite a margin. She is suffering from the onset of dementia and is only able to remain living independently at the Village through the assistance of the other residents. Ashley Hardwick: Reporter for a local television station. Looking for her big break into national prime time television. Self serving, condescending, who despite her contempt for the elderly can't help herself eventually liking the residents of the Sunshine Retirement Village. Set. The entire play is set in the Community Lounge of the Sunshine Retirement Village. All very average with sofas, noticeboards, telephone, television, doors leading outside and to other rooms.

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Note: Each of the residents has their own villa at the village. All are mobile and independent. The Community Lounge is the social centre of the village for the plays residents. ACT ONE Scene 1 Howie’s Liberation Movement Morning. Birds are singing. Lights come up revealing Howie sitting in a lounge chair reading a newspaper. Patricia is sitting with the morning sun on her face, eyes closed enjoying the tranquillity. Howie leans to one side and farts gruesomely. Howie: ‘cuse me. (Short pause) Ohhh that’s rich. (Takes a deep breath and then as a wine connoisseur...) Subtle oak tones with a hint of citrus, an after glow of plums... and beans on toast. (He squirms in his chair) Served with a side dish of skid mark. Patricia: You’re revolting. Howie: It’s a liberation movement Patsy. Get it? “Liberation movement”. Patricia: (Ignoring the “joke”) I’ve asked you not to call me that. Howie: I’m a freedom fighter, Patsy. (Saluting) Corporal Brown reporting for duty ma'm! Patricia: My name is Patricia, and I expect you to have the courtesy to use my name. Howie: That’s where you keep coming undone, my dear - your expectations. “If you expect less, you’ll always get more”. That’s my philosophy. See, one of these days I’m going to surprise you... all I have to do is get your expectations low enough Patricia: Well, you’re getting close I’d say Elizabeth enters stopping Patricia and Howie in their tracks. Elizabeth is in her “going out” clothes, sun hat, handbag hooked over her arm, and a plate of raspberry slice in hand. Patricia and Howie watch her as 4


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she goes to each window in turn, pulls back the lace curtains and looks out. She pauses and then does the circuit again. Howie and Patricia give each other knowing looks. This is an uncomfortable ritual they experience everyday: Elizabeth waiting for her family to arrive... they never do. Elizabeth: What’s the time Mr MacLaine? Howie: (Looking at his watch and grimacing) Ten o’clock. Elizabeth: Yes, ten o'clock. They’ll be here soon. Patricia: Traffic’s probably, you know... (Looking to Howie for help). Howie: Heavy. Patricia: Heavy. The traffic’s probably just... Howie: Heavy. Patricia: Heavy. Yes. Elizabeth: Yes. There is a long uncomfortable pause for Howie and Patricia. Elizabeth is oblivious to it. Howie: (Finally breaking the silence. At each mention of “Patsy” he gets a glare from Patricia. Clearly he is enjoying it.) Yes, Patsy and I were just talking about the traffic. “It’s heavy Patsy”, I said. “Patsy”, I said, “That traffics heavy”. Patsy agreed. Didn’t you Patsy? You agreed the traffic was probably heavy this morning didn’t ya... (a long, delicious, pause) Patsy? Patricia: (Acidly) Yes. Yes I did. Howie: That was just before we talked about “liberation movements”. Wasn’t it, dear Patsy? Patricia: (Hissing) You’re revolting! (She stands to leave and says politely to Elizabeth) I hope you have a lovely day out, Elizabeth my dear. (Walking past Howie she leans down and hisses to him). You are a horrible and revolting man.

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Howie: (Giving her a wink and grinning widely) “Expect less, you get more”. There is a moment where we think Patricia might actually tear his head off. Instead she gathers herself together, stands up straight, puts her nose in the air and stalks off. Elizabeth: What is that terrible smell? Howie: (As if it’s a secret) That was Patricia. She did a... Elizabeth: (Understanding) Smelly-pop. Howie: (Agreeing) Smelly-pop. Howie smirks, takes a piece of raspberry slice and pops it into his mouth as the lights fade to black. Scene 2 The Arrival. A new morning. Lights come up revealing Howie sitting in a lounge chair reading a newspaper as per the previous scene. Patricia is sitting in the sun as before. Howie leans to one side on his seat and is just about to fart when she turns and glares at him. He raises his eye brows to her as if to say “Here we go”. Patricia: I’m warning you. Howie: You can’t stop it. This is bigger than both of us. Patricia: (Pointing to the door) Kindly, please. Howie: I think the term is “critical mass”. At a certain point the tide is turned Patsy and there is no stopping it. The see-saws tilt, the pendulums swing, the crack in the dam. Patricia: (Pointing to the door) Please Howard. Howie: It’s your lucky day Patsy. The train is broken down in the tunnel.

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Patricia: “Pat-ric-ia”. Howie: “Pat-sy-a”. They hold each others stare... neither prepared to back down. Shirley rushes in, in an excited flap. Shirley: (She gives her usual greeting and raised fist salute) Free Tibet! Howie and Patricia: (Usual half hearted response) Free Tibet. Shirley: He’s coming! He’s out - (sensing the tension between Howie and Patricia), am I interrupting something? Patricia: No. Howie: (Farts loudly) All aboard. Patricia: Revolting man. Sorry, Shirley you were saying? Shirley: (Going to the window) He’s out! I saw him go out his front door and head this way! (They all crowd to a window). He’s... (Looking frantically and not seeing “him”)... he should be just out there... he was coming... Patricia: Well he’s not there now. Howie: It’s the sunlight. Shirley: What? Patricia: Don’t listen to him. Howie: (Mysteriously) He melts in the sunlight. Somewhere out there is a blob of melted “him” flowing in the path of least resistance towards the storm water drains... that’s how he moves around the village... he’ll probably appear out of someone’s loo. I just hope for his sake it’s not mine. Shirley: You’ve got an over-active imagination Howie. (Cheerfully) It’s lack of sex. You’re not “getting any” and it’s messing with your head. Not your fault. You’re an aging, single male. Worst case scenario for you I’m afraid. Eventually you’ll lose touch with reality and they’ll ship you off to

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a ward to die alone and in a fantasy world of Soviet Gulags and strip joints. Howie: (Ironically) Something to look forward to at least. Shirley: (Smiling widely) That’s the whole point. You won’t know it’s happening. Nothing for you to look forward to, I’m afraid. Enjoy this moment Howie, you don’t know where your mind will be in the next one. Patricia: Nicely put, Shirley. Shirley: You can’t fight the truth Patsy. Patricia: Patricia. Shirley: That’s right. Chin up Howie, a million people will die this week. It’s unlikely you’ll be one of them. Howie: I feel better already. Patricia: (Looking out the window) But you saw him leave his Villa? Just now? Shirley: Yes! I was just about to go through his letter box again Patricia: Again? Shirley: Yes, and then he appeared at his door. I got down on my hands and knees behind the box-hedge and he walked right past me. Heading this way. Didn’t see me. I ducked around the back expecting to see him go past here. It’s very confusing. I wonder if he went back? Patricia: You’ve been going through his mail box? Shirley: Yes. Howie: That’s illegal isn’t it Patsy? You’d know about that. Patricia: (Considering this) Strictly speaking it may not be. The mail is delivered to the Village office first. Howie: So? Patricia: (Exploring the problem) Well, the Village then distribute it around to our boxes. It’s out of the postal systems jurisdiction. Shirley’s not interfering with the postal systems responsibilities between the mail

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sender and receiver, as the Village act as the recipient on behalf of the Village occupants. Shirley: See, no harm done. Howie: (Rolling his eyes) Well that’s fine then. Patricia: The issues are more about Shirley being a sneaky old woman, who should know better than to go through other peoples mail. Shame on you Shirley. Shirley: You worry too much. Howie: So, what have you learnt? What’s the dirt? Patricia: You shouldn’t tell us anything. I don’t want to know. (Can’t help herself) OK just a little something. One thing. What have you got? Shirley: He’s into animals. Howie: Is he? Dirty bugger. Better keep ya Guinea Pigs inside Patsy. Patricia: (Shaking her head at Howie) Revolting man. Shirley: Farming magazines, Howie, and a few bills, is about it. Howie: Still, better to be safe than sorry, Patsy. You’d better keep your pets indoors. Patricia: I don’t have any pets. Shirley: You’ll all thank me one day. Howie: We’ll thank you? Patricia: What do you mean we’ll all thank you? You haven’t been going through our mail too, have you? Shirley: (Taps her finger to the side of her nose) That would be telling. Elizabeth enters, the others stop and look at her. Just like yesterday Elizabeth is in her “going out” clothes and has her plate of raspberry slice in hand . As the others watch she goes through her “looking out the window” routine... twice. Finally she stops, confused. Elizabeth: What’s the time Mr MacLaine? Howie: (Looking at his watch and grimacing) Ten o’clock. 9


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Elizabeth: Yes, ten o'clock. They’ll be here soon. Shirley: (Whispering loudly to Howie) You’re next. Soviet Gulags and strip joints! Patricia: (Whispering) Shirley! Please! (To Elizabeth) It’ll be the... Howie: Weather. Patricia: Weather. Yes. (Gestures frantically to Howie that it is fine outside). Howie: It’s fine here, but they’re expecting heavy rain in Ashbury (use a nearby suburb relevant for your location). Patricia: And hail. Shirley: And localised flooding. Patricia: That’s right. Exactly. Localised flooding. Howie: And drought. Patricia and Shirley: What? Howie: Localised drought-ing. Elizabeth: Is that right? Shirley: So the short of it is: they might be a bit late. Patricia: Might even postpone coming. Elizabeth: Oh dear. Howie: But you never know. They might get through and be here any moment. I can’t see the sand storm lasting. Patricia: Why don’t you wait at your place? We’ll send them down when they come. Howie: All right Love? Elizabeth: All right. Howie: (Taking the plate of raspberry slice from Elizabeth) Let me hold onto that for you. Off you go Love. Patsy will walk you home. There’s a good girl, Patsy. Elizabeth: Oh thank you Patsy. 10


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Patricia: It’s Patricia. Elizabeth: What is? Patricia: (Sighing) It doesn't matter. Howie digs into the slice as Patricia glares at him and leads Elizabeth off. Lights fade out. Scene 3 I don’t want to live like this. A new morning. Scene opens as per previous two scenes. Howie reading the paper and Patricia enjoying the morning sun. Peggy is seated doing a cross stitch and wearing large headphones. Howie: (Careful not to alert Patricia, he slowly leans to one side in his seat and then farts loudly) Land ahoy, Pats! Patricia: (Screaming in frustration) No! No, no, no! I do not want to start every day like this! This is not the picture I had of my retirement. Stop it! Do you hear me? Just stop it, you revolting man! And my name is Patricia! And, (she pauses as the smell hits her) and oh! You revolting man! Howie: If you don’t like it, why do you sit here every morning? I’ll tell you why. Because you actually like it. Patricia: I beg your pardon? Howie: You enjoy it. Patricia: I enjoy it?! Howie: Why else would you subject yourself to me? You like it. You enjoy our morning constitutional. Patricia: I come here to enjoy the sun in the morning. I have no morning sun in my Villa. (Bitterly) The council said they would remove the tree, and now they won’t. I should have got it in writing. I should 11


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have, but I didn’t. I take full responsibility for that. I compensate by coming here to the COMMUNITY lounge! Why can’t you just let me enjoy the sun in the morning? Why do you insist on being so revolting? Howie: What I find fascinating, Patsy, is that you come here every morning. And every morning the same thing happens... I get your name wrong... I release the hounds... and yet you are taken by surprise. The thing you expect, is the thing you have never experienced. That, my dear Patsy, I find fascinating. This constant, unreasonable, expectation. You are a fascinating woman. You fascinate me and I am fascinated by you. Patricia: It is called “hope”. And I do not apologise for expecting, hoping, that you will act like an adult in the COMMUNITY lounge! Howie: “Hope”. Didn’t know it still existed in this hard, cynical world. You are a fascinating woman and I want to get to know you better. (With a sly grin) I “hope” to get to know you much, much better. Patricia clenches her fists in frustration, takes a deep breath and returns to her sun. Peggy sniffs and looks accusingly at Howie. He points to Patricia. Peggy: (Shakes her head in disapproval at Patricia. Then whispers loudly to Howie) This is a community lounge! Howie: (Whispering back) I know! Lights fade to black as Howie smiles slyly. Scene 4 Doug is lured into a trap. A new morning. Scene opens as per previous scenes. Howie reading the paper and Patricia enjoying the morning sun. Peggy is seated doing a cross stitch and wearing large headphones. Nothing happens. Patricia steals a glance towards Howie. When she looks away he steals a glance towards her. This continues for some time. Eventually Patricia breaks the silence. 12


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Patricia: Just do it and get it over and done with! I can’t stand this! Howie: (Innocently) What? Patricia: You know what I’m talking about. Just do it. Howie: I’m terribly sorry Patricia, I have no idea what you are talking about. Patricia: (Catching her name for the first time) What did you say? Howie: I said, “Patricia”, I have no idea what you are talking about. (Getting Peggy’s attention) Do you have any idea what she is talking about? Peggy: No idea, sorry. I’m listening to a talking book, Pride and Prejudice. Howie: I agree. (Refering to Patricia) And what a proud and prejudiced woman she is. (Back to Patricia) She has no idea either, Patricia. We both have no idea, Patricia. Patricia: Very funny. Howie: Are you alright? Patricia: Of course I’m alright! Howie: You don’t sound alright. Does Patricia sound alright to you, Peggy? Peggy: Tummy still a bit upset, Love? Patricia: What? What are you talking about? Howard, stop playing your silly games. Howie looks to Peggy and gestures that Patricia is crazy. Shirley bursts in. Shirley: (Usual greeting and raised fist salute) Free Tibet! Others: (Half heatedly as usual) "Free Tibet". Shirley: He’s coming! He’s coming! Quick! Peggy: Who? Howie: Dracula. 13


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Peggy: What? Shirley: (At the window) Quick, look! They all rush to the window. Patricia: What’s he doing? What’s he picking up? Peggy: Letters, I think. What’s on top? Shirley: A stone. Howie: There’s a trail of letters with a stone on top of each one. Shirley: Yes! Peggy: That’s odd. “He” must be getting closer to them as they all pull back from the curtain and peer more surreptitiously. Howie: He’s following a trail of letters over here. Peggy: It’s all very “Hansel and Gretel”. Shirley: Isn’t it! Patricia: What’s going on Shirley? Shirley: I’m luring him over here. Patricia: With letters? Shirley: (Very pleased with herself) Yes, with his letters! It’s like they’ve been blown out of his letter box. He’ll never know it’s us. Patricia: Well it’s not us, is it. It’s you. Peggy: Why did you put stones on them? Shirley: So they won’t blow away in the wind. (She places a letter on the floor in the doorway, with a stone on top, and then another couple of letters and stones leading to the centre of the lounge). Howie: (Watching her) Isn’t that going to be a bit of a give-away? Shirley: What? Howie: The stones on top of each letter. Hard to pass that off as gust of wind. 14


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Shirley: Good point. Hopefully he won’t think about that. (Cheerfully) He could have early dementia or “environmental dislocation”, which would be great. Patricia: (Ironically) We can only hope. Howie: Yes, for his sake, we can only hope that (picks up a letter and reads) “Doug Patterson” is losing his mind. Shirley: I had to get him out. I’ve been collecting his mail for a while now. (To Howie) Put it down. (He does so). Patricia: You need to stay out of other people’s mail! Peggy: Shush! Here he comes. They all scamper back to their seats and attempt to look casual. Doug enters, picking up letters and stones all the way to the centre of the room. He realises he is not alone. Shirley: (Not holding back any of her excitement) Hi! Doug: G’day. Shirley: I’m Shirley! (Proudly) Spokeswoman for the 1968 textile workers lock out. Yeah, that was me. (No response from Doug) Never mind. This is Peggy, Howie and Patsy. Patricia: Patricia. Shirley: That’s right. Patricia: Hello. Peggy: Hi. Howie: How’s it going? (There is a long pause as they wait for Doug to respond. He doesn’t) You’re Doug, right? Doug: (Suspiciously) That’s right. Howie: Welcome, Doug, to the Community Lounge. The Village’s social centre, and the HQ for my Liberation Movement. Glad to have you with us. Sit down, make yourself at home. Game of darts? Coffee? Elizabeth will be in soon with the raspberry slice. (No reaction from Doug) Sit down. 15


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Doug: I didn’t come for that. Shirley: (Enthusiastically) Your letters just blew in here! Doug: (Obviously unimpressed) Did they just? Howie: Oh yeah, and this mini tornado, we get those here, dropped a stone on top... of each one... which had the useful effect of keeping the letters from blowing away. There’s a pool table through there if you’d like aDoug: (Interrupting) Stay away from my mailbox, would ya’s? (He exits). Patricia: (Nervously blurting as he disappears) It was her! I wouldn’t touch your mail! Regardless of who’s jurisdiction it is! Howie: (Mimicking) “It was her! I wouldn’t touch your mail! Regardless of who’s jurisdiction it is!”. I don’t think you’d stand up well under interrogation Pats. (Peggy goes to the window and watches Doug) Shirley: (Accusingly to Patricia) Stool pigeon! I thought we were all in this together! Patricia: What gave you that idea?! I never said that. Why would you think I wanted to be a part of it? You shouldn’t interfere with someone else’s mail, I’ve been over that with you. Shirley: As you said, the law is a little vague in this area. Patricia: I wasn’t giving you approval for it! Shirley: What makes you think I need your approval? You’re bourgeois! Patricia: I am not! Shirley: You’re with “The Man”. You’re “status quo” and always will be! Howie: Ladies, if you are going to do this, I want a mud pit and bikinis. Shirley and Patricia: Shut up Howie! Peggy: (Still at the window) He’s rather dishy though, don’t you think?

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Shirley and Patricia: (Rushing over to the window) Oh yeah / absolutely. Howie: What? He’s “dishy”? Where on earth did that come from? He’s a “sheep shagger”! He’s got a thing for guinea pigs. He can barely string two words together. Peggy: It’s all right Howie, we still love you. (The others look doubtful) Well, we still tolerate you. Shirley: He’s got an air of mystery, Doug has. There’s no telling what’s going on under that tough exterior. Patricia: (Pointedly to Howie) The strong silent type. Howie: He’s probably hiding something. No one is ever who they appear to be. Shirley: We all pray that you aren’t who you appear to be Howie. Patricia: Nicely said Shirley. Peggy: (Giggling) Now, ladies! Howie: Well he didn’t show any interest in you lot, so you can all calm down. Your Man of Mystery has gone back into hiding. He's pulled his metaphorical trousers up over the metaphorical underwear of his mystery. Shirley: Not like you and your trousers last week, then. Howie: Errr, yes. Not like that. Shirley: Not a lot of mystery then, was there? Howie: No. Not a lot of metaphor either. Shirley: No. He showed me his ding-dong, you know. Peggy: Who? Shirley: Howie. Patricia: (Confused about the change of conversation) What? Where did this come from? Shirley: His ding-dong. 17


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Patricia: He...?! Shirley: Yes. Patricia: No! He didn’t! Shirley: Oh yes he did. Peggy: (Calmly) Yes, yes. Me too. Patricia: Revolting man! Howie: Now ladies as I explained, it was a wardrobe malfunction. I was as surprised as you. It was a catastrophic elasticated failure... and then a repeated catastrophic elasticated failure. Patricia: (Absolutely horrified) He accidentally showed you his... Peggy: I don't blame you Howie. A man should never buy his own clothes. Everyone knows that. It's not your fault you never married. Howie: I'm now convinced on the necessity of underwear, and am sworn off cheap track pants, you'll be pleased to know. It's size too small y-fronts and belted trousers from now on. Scouts promise. Patricia: (struggling to say this)...his ding-dong? Peggy: (Deadly serious) Actually something that size is really a dingaling. Howie: A what?! Peggy: (Warmly) Not really ding-dong size, is it? A ding-dong would beHowie: What? Shirley: Bigger. Peggy: Much bigger. Shirley and Patricia are giggling away at this unexpected conversation. Howie: There’s nothing wrong with my... you-know. Peggy: (Very motherly) Oh don’t worry Howie. If it’s any consolation, I had a Morris Minor for years and it never gave me any trouble. I’m sure your little ding-aling is just fine. 18


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Howie: (Not knowing what to say) Yeah, well... it is. It’s... just fine. Thank you very much. (He scuttles out). Shirley: Good bye Ding-Aling! They all break out into laughter again just as Elizabeth enters, dressed to go out as usual and carrying a plate of raspberry slice... at the sight of her they suddenly stop. An air of depression falls over the room. Shirley: They haven’t arrived yet Dear. How about we wait for them back at your place. (She takes Elizabeth by the elbow and leads her out). Peggy: Do you think they’ll ever come? Patricia: (Shaking her head) I haven't known her to have a visitor... have you? Peggy: Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. Patricia: I know how that feels. Peggy: (With a sigh) At least she has the hope of someone coming. Not like me. What’s better Patricia... having someone and being ignored, or just plain old being alone? Patricia: "I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all." Peggy: Good old Lord Tennyson. Patricia: When did your husband pass away? Peggy: 1984. (Being brave) Listen to me being all silly. It is better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all. Better, but perhaps not easier, that's all. Patricia: Peggy, Tennyson has nothing on you. Peggy: What do you mean? Patricia: “Ding-Aling”? 19


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Peggy: You liked that? Patricia: Oh yes, I liked that! Peggy: Good. (Pause) Happy birthday by the way. Patricia: How did you know that? Peggy: Shirley’s been going through your mail. Patricia: What?! Peggy smiles and Patricia shakes her head in defeat as lights fade out. Scene 5 We Are Revolting. A new morning. The lights come up on the community lounge. There is no one there. We hear a voice from off. It is Ashley Hardwick, a local news reporter who is desperate to make it to the national news. Ashley: Hello? (Ashley enters, a young woman very smartly dressed with a video camera on a tripod and and large microphone. She’s a woman at the bottom but on her way up). Hello? Hello? (She looks around, obviously she was expecting someone to be here and is unsure what to do. Finally she takes the phone, locates a number on the laminated phone list on the wall and calls the village office). Hi, Ashley Hardwick here, I was just up at the office. (She is interrupted by the person on the other end asking about a cat stuck up a tree that she covered for the news sometime ago) Yes they got the cat down. “Fluffy”, yes. Look, the reason I called is that I’m in the community lounge but there’s no one here. (Listens, looks at watch). No, I’m pretty sure I’m in your community lounge. (Listens) Well, it looks like a community lounge. (Listens and looks around) Sofas, TV and all that. (Listens, then walks to the front door and looks at the sign ) “Community Lounge”. (Listens then rolls her eyes) Yes, I’m in your community lounge. Listen, is there anyone else at the front office I can talk to? (There isn’t). OK, I’ll wait ten minutes and if no one turns up I’ll go down to The Three Oaks Retirement Home. Bye. (She hangs up and wanders around the room killing time. When she approaches Howie’s usual chair she is struck by 20


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a bad smell). Wow that’s nasty. (She takes a perfume bottle out of her handbag and liberally sprays the chair. She glances out the window and sees someone coming. She quickly sets up the camera. Patricia enters). Patricia: (Surprised to see Ashley and the camera) Oh, hello. Ashley: (Reaching out to shake hands) Hi, I’m Ashley Hardwick. (Passes her a business card). Patricia: (Shaking her hand with some apprehension and looking at the card) Yes, I’ve seen you on the news. Ashley: (Proudly) Of course. Patricia: (Blurting) The 4pm local news. Ashley: (This has hit a raw nerve) It’s still the news. Patricia: Of course, I didn’t mean anything, news is news, isn’t it. Ashley: Yes, news is news. (Obviously to Ashley it’s not). Patricia: Did they manage to get that cat out of the tree? Ashley: (Sighing at the trivial nature of her work) Yes. Fluffy is fine. Patricia: Oh good. Isn’t your camera a little small? I thought they were big cameras, you know, news cameras. Ashley: There is nothing wrong with my camera. Now, stand here. Patricia: Where’s your cameraman? Ashley: I am the camera-woman. Patricia: Oh, right. Sorry. Who’s the reporter then? (Excitedly) Is Tom Blackmoore here? Ashley: No, Tom is not here. I am the reporter. Patricia: Sorry, I thought you were the camera-woman. Ashley: I am the camera-woman and reporter! OK? Does it really matter?! Patricia: I suppose not.

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Ashley: (Trying to salvage some pride) I work alone. That’s the way I roll. I’m a lone wolf. A free agent. Patricia: With a little camera. Ashley: (Taking control and moving Patricia into position, and turning the camera on). There is nothing wrong with the camera and you’re wasting time. Now, stand there and look at the “little camera”. (Snapping into “news reporter” mode) Now, I’ve come to get the comments of the elderly on the Councils decision to Patricia: “Seniors”. Ashley: Sorry? Patricia: We prefer “seniors”. We’re a retirement “village” so we’re seniors. The elderly are in retirement “homes”. Ashley: (Shrugging) All right. Patricia: (Serious) It matters. Ashley: (Patronisingly) Of course it does. I’ll cut that out and we’ll try again. Try not to interrupt please. (Checking her position in front of the camera and speaking into the microphone and back into “news” mode) I’m at the Sunshine Retirement Village, for the elderly “seniors”, and I’ve come for reaction on the councils decision to remove the rates discount for the elderly (patronisingly) including “seniors”. Patricia: (Stunned) The council are doing what?! Ashley: That was fantastic! I’ll cut there. Now where can I find some more of your little friends to interview? Patricia: My “little friends”?! Ashley: Well I don’t know, “Seniors”. (From off stage we hear Howie pretending to make a trumpet call. Ashley instinctively turns the camera to the door) Patricia: You probably don’t want to do that - what’s that about the rates discount? (Howie’s backside appears in the door way and he farts loudly). 22


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Howie: Charge! (He enters the room, faking surprise). Oh, hello. Oops! Did you get that on tape? Patricia: Told you. Ashley: (Very disgusted) Yes. You revolting old man. Howie: (Taking her hand and kissing it like a French gentleman complete with accent) Bonjour, it was just a little fart, nothing more, Mon Amie. I meant nothing by it. (He kisses her hand again and starts working his way up her arm). Ashley: (Pulling away from him, disgusted) Yuk! Howie: How’s Fluffy? Did they get her down OK? Ashley: Yes! The bloody cats fine. Howie: Well that’s good news, isn’t it Pats? Patricia: What were you saying about the Council removing our rates discount? Howie: What? Ashley: Yes, good point, let’s get this over with (Getting back to business and standing in front of the camera with Howie) What’s your reaction to the Council cutting the rates discounts for the elderly (responding to a glare from Patricia) “seniors”. (She pushes the microphone towards Howie). Howie: (Looking to Patricia for confirmation) The council are doing what?! Ashley: (Matter of factly) No, no, no. I’ve already got one of those. I need something different. Give me something like: “It’s an outrage!” or “I served in the First World War!” or “It’s a travesty of justice!”. Something like that. I’ve already got the “bewildered old biddy” reaction from her. Patricia: (Trying to ignore the obvious insults) Is the council cutting our rates subsidy? Really? Ashley: (Frustrated) Yes. That’s why I’m here, trying to get the first reaction of the day to the decision they made. (To Howie) Now, let’s try that again 23


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Ashley is interrupted by Peggy and Shirley rushing in. Shirley: (Excitedly) That tart Ashley Hardwick’s in the village, her (sees Ashley and stops in her tracks. Corrects herself...) your little cars out the front. Ashley: (Not amused) Yes. Shirley: Is that dishy Tom Blackmoore here too? Ashley: No, he’s not. Howie: They’ve taken our rates subsidy away. Peggy: Who? Patricia: The council! Shirley: The bloody buggers have better not have! Ashley: That’s good! Let’s get that on camera after him. Peggy: Who told you that? Howie and Patricia: (Pointing to Ashley) She did! Howie, Peggy, Patricia and Shirley all start talking loudly. Ashley: (Trying to wrestle back control of the situation). Everybody stop talking! You (Howie) Stand over here (in front of the camera). Quiet please! Thank you. (Back in “news” mode) Sir, what is your reaction to the council cutting your rates discount? (She thrusts the microphone towards him). Howie: “It’s an outrage! I served in the First World War!! This is a travesty of justice!”. Shirley: You never fought in the First World War!! Don’t be so bloody ridiculous. You've not fought in any war. Howie: I might have! Shirley: Yeah, right. Patricia: She told him to say that. Peggy: Why? Patricia: He was lost for words. 24


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Shirley: That’ll be the day. Howie: It’s a tiny camera isn’t it? Ashley: It doesn’t matter how big it is. Howie: Said the pygmy to the Viking! Isn’t there supposed to be some sweaty, overweight bloke eating mince pies with a camera the size of a container-ship on his shoulder? Patricia: She’s a lone wolf. Howie: Is she? Patricia: It’s how she rolls. Ashley: (To Shirley) Right, you’re next. (She pushes Howie aside and Shirley into his place) Stand there. Shirley: Do you want to know my name? Ashley: No, not really. Shirley: I mean for the interview. Ashley: No. And it’s not an interview. I just want your reaction. Say what you said before. Shirley: What was that? Ashley: Something about “bloody buggers”. Shirley: (Indignant) I never said any such thing! Ashley: Yes you did. Shirley: No I didn’t! Ashley: It doesn’t matter (pushes Shirley aside and pulls Peggy in front of the camera) Let’s use you instead. Shirley: Wait a minute! I want to be interviewed! Ashley: It’s not an interview! Shirley: You bloody bugger Ashley: (Interrupting) See, there you go. Howie: I want bikini’s and mud! 25


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: (Calming Shirley down) It’s OK, don’t worry about it. Shirley: I was the spokeswoman for the 1968 textile workers lockout! Patricia: We know, we know. Shirley: It was bloody fantastic too. Howie is enjoying the chaos of the situation. Peggy is bewildered. Ashley: (Back to news mode) Madam, what is your reaction to the council cutting your rates discount? (She thrusts the microphone towards her). Peggy: “It’s an outrage! I served in the First World War!! This is a travesty of justice!”. (Pause) Sorry I panicked. (Trying again) How about this: The council are doing what?! Ashley: No! No, we’ve had that Elizabeth enters in her going out outfit, plate of raspberry slice as per usual, oblivious to what’s going on she stands in front of the camera. Ashley: Who the hell is this? Elizabeth: What’s the time Mr MacLaine? Everyone: Ten o’clock! Patricia: (Leading Elizabeth towards the door) Pop back home love, (Lying and looking to the others for support) they just called and are going to be a bit late. (Others agree) I’ll be down later and we’ll work on that jig saw. Elizabeth: (Noticing Ashley for the first time) Did they get Fluffy down? Ashley: (Completely exasperated) Yes. Fluffy’s fine. Elizabeth: Well that’s good news, isn’t it Patricia? Patricia: It certainly is. Elizabeth has exited. Howie’s taken the plate of raspberry slice as usual. Howie: Slice anyone? Ashley: Shouldn’t she be in a home? 26


Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Others: No! Shirley: Now piss off, you bloody bugger Peggy and Patricia restrain Shirley as Ashley rushes out with her camera. Howie: I'd like a copy of that tape! A state of relative calm eventually returns to the room. Patricia: I can't afford to pay any more for my rates. Maybe I will have to move in with my daughter and her Neanderthal husband. Others: (Horrified) No! Shirley: There's nothing worse than living with ya kids. Takes 20 years to get rid of them - you don't want to go back. Others agree. Peggy: It's so unfair. We paid extra rates all those years so that seniors could have a discount, and then when it's our turn, it's taken away. Shirley: That's what you should have said to that tart Ashley Hardwick. Peggy: I couldn't think straight. Shirley: I know what you mean. I live in that world permanently. Howie: (Seriously) I think we are all missing an important point here. Peggy: What? Patricia: Don't trust him. Howie: (Hurt) Can't you extend some grace to me just once? Patricia: Alright. What do you have to say? Howie: Just this. (He farts). That about sums up how I feel about all this. Patricia: You are revolting! Howie: Actions speak louder than words, Patsy. (Counting off on his fingers) Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandella, Howard (points to himself) MacLaine. Shirley: What did you say? 27


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: I said he’s disgusting, the way he is always Shirley: No, you said he was revolting. Ding-Aling is revolting. He’s (pauses for effect) “revolting”. Patricia: Yes, that’s what I’m saying he’s Shirley: Revolting. Patricia: Yes! Shirley: (Defiantly, raising a fist to the air) I’m revolting! Patricia: That’s a bit strong, you’ve just got no sense of right and wrong. You’re a mail thief. Peggy: All legacies of the drugs and free love of the 60’s, Cherub. Howie: Not just the drugs. It was the smoke from all those bra’s you burnt. There’s 13 toxic materials in the average bra. That’s a fact. (He starts tucking into the raspberry slice). Patricia: I don’t really see how that excuses her from stealing mail. Shirley: I didn’t steal your mail. I just read it and made a copy for my files. But that’s not important. What is important is Patricia: You have copies of all my letters? Shirley: That’s not important, you’re not listening to me... I’m revolting against the system. I’m going to revolt against the way we get treated just because we’re old. Patricia: Speak for yourself. Shirley: “Seniors” then. Patricia: Thank you. Now getting back to my mail Shirley: Point is, I’m not going to just roll over and let them do this, I’m revolting. They think they can treat us like this? Patricia: You’re joking about the mail, right? Shirley: (Not terribly convincing) Right. (Getting back the revolt) Can they treat us like this?

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Peggy: Well, yes Cherub, that’s the whole point isn’t it. What are we going to do? They can treat us however they like. And they know it. Shirley: Well I’m not going to let them. I’m going to stand up to them and show them that just because we’re a little older, sorry Patricia “senior”, than they are, it doesn’t mean they can treat us like second class citizens. It’s time to do something about it. Peggy, are you revolting? Peggy: Sure, why not? Patricia, are you revolting? Patricia: No I am not. Shirley: I told you she was Bourgeois, a cog in the system, a hoity-toity tool of the Patricia: (Interrupting her to shut her up) If you’ll just let me get a word in, I am not revolting. Shirley: Typical! Hoity-toity tool of the Patricia: (Shouting over her) But I will join your revolt! Shirley: Welcome aboard. Howie are you revolting? Patricia and Peggy: Yes! Howie: Apparently I am. Shirley: Fantastic. Patricia: So what happens now? Shirley: Sit-ins, marches, placards Howie: And bra burning hopefully. Peggy: (Ignoring Howie) Sounds exciting. Patricia: I think we can do better than that. Howie: Than bra burning? I doubt it. Shirley: (Cuffing Howie over the ear) What do you have in mind? (With glee) Armed resistance? Howie: I could hit them with my weapons of “mass disgusting”. Shirley: We could kidnap the mayor. 29


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: I’m not doing anything illegal. Peggy: That’s the problem, isn’t it? We are the most law abiding group in the community. That’s why they can ignore us. Shirley: Let’s bomb the council chambers! Howie: Steady on there Shirley. Shirley: We’ll bomb the buggers to kingdom come! Ka-boom! Peggy: You’re not serious! Patricia: Of course she’s not. (They all look at Shirley) Are you? Shirley: Why not? What are they going to do? Howie: They’ll throw us in prison, or in your case, a psychiatric ward. Shirley: Oh you’re so brave Howie. A real pillar of masculine strength. Howie: (Acidly) What do you expect from a man with a “ding-aling”. Peggy: Now kids, settle down. What do you have in mind Patricia? Patricia: I don’t have anything in mind. Shirley: Typical. A cog in the machine doesn’t think for itself, it just gets turned by another cog. You’re a cog! Patricia: I am not! Shirley: Coggy, cog, cog! Patricia: Well that’s mature. Howie: So come up with something better than blowing up the council building, Patsy. Peggy: Yes, what do you suggest? Patricia: I don’t know! I’d start by doing something legal Shirley: Boring! Patricia: - legal but dramatic. Dramatic enough that they can’t ignore it. (Thinking out loud). Legal but dramatic... legal but dramatic... Peggy: Take them to court. You could do that. Howie: Yeah, "Judge Judy". Take them to court. 30


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: Over what? On what basis? What law have they broken? They make the laws. What would I be challenging? Shirley: Well, we don’t know, you were the High Court Judge. (Challenging) Come up with something legal and dramatic or we’re bombing the council chambers! (Getting the support of Peggy and Howie) Right? Peggy and Howie: (Playing along) Right! Patricia: You wouldn’t bomb the council chambers. Don’t be ridiculous. (The others look at her defiantly) You wouldn’t even know how to make a bomb. There is a pause as they realise this is true. Howie: Doug would! Patricia: This is silly. Shirley: (To Doug) Call him and ask. Howie: Alright. (Reaches for the phone and dials Doug’s number from the phone list on the wall next to the phone). It’s ringing. Patricia: He was a farmer, not a member of the IRA. Howie: He’ll know. They’re always blowing up tree stumps, farmers. I’ve seen it on the telly. Patricia: Put the phone down Howie: He’ll know. Patricia: Put the phone down Howard Howie: 73% of all terrorists started out as share milkers. That's a fact. Patricia: Put the phone down Howie: (Doug answers the phone, Howie puts his hand up to stop Patricia talking) Doug, Howie here from 17. Listen mate, we’re thinking about making a bomb and thought you could give us some advice. Patricia: (Confidently to Shirley and Peggy) He’s not talking to him.

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Howie: Yeah, a home made bomb. (He listens) Fertiliser? What? (He listens). Patricia: (A little less confident) Good joke Howard. Howie: I see. Yeah, sounds a bit tricky. How much do you need to make a decent bang? To blow up a big stump. (Listens) How big? Big mate. A bloody big tree stump. (Listens) And it just ignites, and up she goes, eh? And you could pretty much blow up anything with that eh? Patricia: (Not at all confident now, to Peggy and Patricia) He’s just joking. He’s not talking to Doug. Howie: So this is regular garden centre stuff or what? (Listens) Right, but you could get us in touch with an outfit that would sell us that stuff? Patricia: (Grabbing the phone) Give me that! Doug is not on the other end of this, and he is not telling you how to make a bomb out of fertiliser. Doug: (Over the phone) Yes I bloody well am! Patricia: (Wide eyed and shocked) Yes he bloody well is! (She puts the phone to her ear) Hello Doug. (Listens) Yes. He wants to talk to you. (Hands the phone to Howie). Howie: Hello? (Listens) Soon. We’d want to do it soon. Think you could give us a hand? (To the others) He’s going to give us a hand! Shirley: Fantastic! Peggy claps her hands excitedly. Howie: We’re over at the community lounge. (Hanging up the phone) He’s on his way over. Peggy: So it’s Doug’s stump bomb or something legal and dramatic. What’s it going to be Patricia? Patricia: I’ll think of something, you’re not making a bomb with Doug. Howie: (Looking out the window) He’s coming out. Never seen him move so enthusiastically! Shirley: Well Patricia?

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Patricia: He is not going to help you make a bomb, when he knows what you are going to use it for. He won’t! You’re all crazy. Howie: He will, he was pretty excited about the idea. Never heard him so animated. He was stringing whole sentences together and everything. Look at him, he’s practically skipping over. Very Judy Garland. Where’s Toto? Shirley: Well Patricia? Peggy: Legal and dramatic? Doug enters, very enthusiastically. Doug: Ya want to blow up a stump eh? (he rubs his hands together in anticipation) How big is she? Howie: Oh she’s pretty big Doug. Pretty big alright. Peggy / Shirley: Pretty big! Patricia: (Trying to take control of the situation but being ignored) Doug, they’re having you on. There is no tree stump. Doug: Now, you’ve got to be careful, but it is simple enough. Just like I told you Howie, we have a few options. You can make a bomb with fertiliser but it’s easier to just use some dynamite. I know where we can get some. Not strictly legal but Patricia: You know where you can get some dynamite?! Doug: I know, gun powder can be cheaper, but let’s think safety first. Patricia: (Rolling her eyes) Oh yes, could we? Doug: (Quite excited about this) Yeah. Anyway, a few precautions. Obviously we need to make sure we’re well away from water, gas and power mains, buildings, wells etc. Probably best to sort out a blast mat Howie: A what? Doug: A blast mat, to keep the debris to a minimum. Otherwise clean up can be a nightmare. I tend to over charge the blasts so it can get messy. Shirley: (Winking at Howie) Better too big than too small, eh DingAling? 33


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Doug: (To Howie) We’ll go down to a tyre shop and pick up a few dozen old tyres. Hire a trailer first. Bugger it, I knew I should have kept a trailer. (To himself) Why did I ever let ‘em talk me into selling the trailers? (Back to Howie) Anyway, we’ll wire the tyres together. I’ve got some fencing wire from the farm. Thought it might come in handy. The tyres will make a decent blast mat. I’ve used em before. Practically standard practice. Howie: Well, we’re all about standard practice here, Doug. Doug: What’s your thoughts on soil? Howie: (No idea what Doug is talking about) Soil? I like it. It’s very... “soily”. Isn’t it? Soil. Doug: What? No, have you thought about back filling the hole? Patricia: As I was saying Doug, we haven’t really thought this through. (Challenging the others) Have we?! Doug: We’ll need some back fill and some topsoil. Well pick it up when we have the trailer for the tyres. No point hiring the thing twice. Patricia: We’re not 100% sure about this Doug. Howie and Shirley: Yes we are! Doug: No problem. I’ll take care of it. Great to be finally doing something, everything’s so bloody perfect here there’s nothing to do. I’ve been going out of my mind in this place. Patricia: (Referring to the others) You’re not the only one, obviously. Doug: (Looking around at everyone) Seed? Patricia: Seed? Doug: You got some grass seed? (Everyone shakes their heads) No? We’ll have to re-lay the grass. No problem, I’ve got a bucket full in the shed, should do the trick, pasture seed but it shouldn’t matter. (To himself) I was right about needing that too. Should’ve bought more. I’m annoyed about the trailer. I shouldn’t have let them talk me into selling the farm... Patricia: (Thinking). Seed. Cede. 34


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Doug: Now let’s take a look at your stump. Peggy and Shirley giggle. Howie: (Warning Shirley) Not a word! Doug: Eh? Howie: Nothing, we have a bit of a problem with the stump. Shirley and Peggy snigger, Patricia rolls her eyes at them. Howie: (To Peggy and Shirley) Stop it! Doug: Oh, yeah? What problem? Patricia: (Thinking out loud still) We could cede. (She’s had a eureka moment) We could cede! Doug: Yeah, well the jobs not done until you have. Howie: (Playing the farmer) Standard practice, mate. Patricia: (Back to thinking out loud) We could cede. We could cede from Australia. We can establish our own principality right here. Right here in the Village. We’d lose of course, eventually. It wouldn’t hold up under decent scrutiny, but we could make a real nuisance of ourselves. (To the others) How about we do that? Doug: What is she on about? Where’s the tree? Shirley: What are you talking about? Peggy: (Not looking up from her cross stitch) She’s saying that we split from Australia and start our own country. Patricia: Exactly! (A little surprised that Peggy has caught on so completely when everyone else hasn’t) Well done. Howie/Shirley/Doug: What? Peggy: Like one of those little places in Europe. Likenburger. Howie: (In terrible German accent and patting his stomach) Ja I liken da burger. Doug, do you liken da burger? Doug: What?

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Patricia: (To Peggy) You mean Lichtenstein. Yes, Lichtenstein or Monaco... places like that. Doug: Howie, do you have a stump or don’t you? More giggles from Shirley and Peggy. Howie: Yes. No. Kinda. Do you have to put it like that, Doug? Shirley: Sounds boring. I want placards and sit-ins and Howie: Bra burning. Shirley: Yeah, why not? Bra burning! Doug: Howie, show me your stump. The women laugh out loud. Howie: Leave my stump alone for a minute mate. Peggy: It’s a Ding-Aling. Doug: What? Patricia: (Getting everyone back on track, a little frustrated) We need something, a trigger event, a catalyst that sets in motion a legal challenge to the state of Australia. Shirley: What the hell are you talking about? Patricia: It’s simple. We need to do something that the council then tells us is illegal and has legal consequences. We then tell them to shove, excuse my French, their consequences as we don’t recognise their authority over us. Shirley: I like it. Especially that bit about shoving it right up their jaxsies! That was magic. There’s nothing like telling the bourgeois to shove it right up their jaxsies! Well said. Patricia: I never said that! Shirley: (Looking around to the others and gesturing that Patricia is crazy) Someone’s losing their marbles.

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Patricia: I didn’t say anything about “jaxsies”. (Shirley is making the crazy gesture again). Oh, for goodness sake. The point is that we need to do something to get this started. Shirley: What kind of something? A bomb blast? Doug: (Eyes lighting up) I can help with that. Patricia: No, nothing as obvious as that. They’d cart us off to jail before we even got started. We need something legal but questionable. Howie: I can help you with that. (To Doug) Former car salesman. Doug: Sorry mate, I don’t really know what’s going on here. I thought you wanted to blow up a tree stump. Shirley: How about we blow up that tree? The one outside your place that you’re always going on about. That’s the council’s. It’d be bloody dramatic seeing that thing go up. Ka-boom! Peggy: We’ll get that Ashley Hardwick to put it on the news. Patricia: I don’t think we should blow up something outside my house. Shirley: Oh, yeah. Bloody typical Bourgeois, “not in my backyard”. You need to own this Patricia. Do you have what it takes? Or are you just a cog in their machine? Patricia: But Shirley: (Taunting her) Coggy, cog, cog! Patricia: Stop that! Shirley: Coggy, cog, cog! Patricia: Very childish Shirley: Coggy, cog, cog! Patricia: (Appealing to the others) Talk some sense into her. Peggy? Peggy: I think she’s right, Cherub. You need to own this. Patricia: Thanks for nothing. Howard?

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Howie: As much as I am opposed to you having morning sun in your house, and missing our morning constitutional, I think I’m siding with Shirley and Peggy. Patricia: I should have expected that. Doug, you seem like a reasonable man Doug: (Rubbing his hands together) I’m not really sure what’s going on here but lead me to this tree! Others join in encouraging Patricia. Patricia: (Giving up) Alright. Alright. (To Peggy) Call Ashley Hardwick, tell her we will have a story. Doug, come with me, I’ll show you this tree. Doug: (Excited) Righto’. Patricia: We’ll confirm the details with Miss Hardwick after Doug’s had a look at the tree. Doug and Patricia exit. Howie, Shirley and Peggy suddenly look nervous. Howie: I didn’t think she’d do it. Shirley: No, I wasn’t really serious. Peggy: Coggy, cog, cog? Shirley: It’s all I could think of. Howie: Are you going to call Hardwick? Peggy: She might be having us on. She’s calling our bluff. Shirley/Howie: Yeah. There is a pause as they think about this. They look at each other... Shirley /Peggy/ Howie: No. Lights fade out as they wonder what on earth they have got themselves into. Scene 6 The Right to Self Determination. 38


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Doug and Howie enter talking about bombs. Peggy is doing her cross stitch. Shirley is pacing around the room bored. Doug: We’re going to need a fair bit. Howie: A fair bit? Doug: Yep. She’s a big tree. Shirley: How much is a “fair bit”? Doug: Well, we’ll need a tandem axle trailer I’d say. Howie: A tandem trailer full of dynamite?! Even I know that’s ridiculous, Doug. Doug: I’ve had a change of plan. I’m going to use fertiliser and rig it all up myself; that’s where the fun is. I’ll need a hand though. Howie: I dunno if I’m up to it Doug. Shirley: Typical! Doug: It’s easy. But I’ll need ya to help with getting the trailer off the back of the Holden and chocking the wheels. Don’t want the thing rolling off down the road. We’ll just shove the trailer right up to the trunk and blow them both up. Howie: How’s the owner of the trailer going to feel about that? Doug: I don’t mind. Howie: Well he might. Doug: I bought a couple of trailers this morning. Howie: You bought a couple of trailers this morning? Doug: Yeah, but we’ll just blow one of them up. I’ll be keeping the other. Shirley: Sounds sensible. Howie: (Ironically) Very sensible. Patricia: (Entering and taking everyone’s attention) Here we go, I found it! (Proudly) Alright then, how’s this? (She reads) “Charter of the United Nations. CHAPTER I: PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES. Article : The Purposes of the United Nations are... blah, blah, blah... here we go... 39


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

2: To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and, here we go... “self-determination of peoples”, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace... etc. etc. Howie: Well I’m all about friendly relations, if you know what I mean. (Everyone looks at him blankly). Forget it. Shirley: “Equal rights”? My arse! They owe us. It’s this equal rights business that got us into the cart in the first place. I don’t want equal rights! We didn’t pay extra all those years to end up with “equal bloody rights!”. Peggy: But that self-determination angle is a good one. Patricia: Yes Peggy, exactly. Under the UN Charter, of which our great nation is a signed member, we are given the right to self determination. Shirley: Just like Tibet! Patricia: Yes, just like Tibet. Peggy: Really? Patricia: Actually, no, of course not. But that’s going to be our argument. We cede from Australia; based on our right for self determination as per the UN Charter. As an independent state we have no legal duty to pay taxes to another state... eg. our rates to the City Council. Peggy: They’ll cut off our services. Shirley: Screw them if they do. We’ll go to war! Doug’ll blow them to kingdom come. Ka-boom! Patricia: We’re not going to warShirley: If I can’t flush my toilet someone is going to pay Patricia: No one is going to stop your toilet flushing Shirley: Ka-boom! Doug: We can dig long-drops! I knew I should have kept my post hole borer, bloody kids making me sell up and 40


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Peggy: I’m not really the long-drop type Howie: Why don’t you cut the tree down first Doug, and then just blow up the stump with a stick of dynamite or something sensible? Doug: Where’s the fun in that? Peggy: Not going to be as dramatic either, Howie. We need to blow it up Cherub. Shirley: Ka-boom! Howie: I can’t believe I’m the voice of reason here. Peggy: You’re doing very well Howie. Howie: I think this is getting out of control Shirley: (Chanting as if she is leading a protesting mob) What do we want? Flushing! When do we want it? Now! Patricia: (Yelling) Please! Will you all just calm down! Shirley, they won’t cut off our services. They can’t do anything while we are taking legal action. And besides, they couldn’t handle the media coverage if they cut off services to an elderly community. Peggy: I thought we were “seniors”. Patricia: (Shrugging) Whatever. (Everyone looks surprised) Howard, as much as I agree with you that this is insane, we have to blow up the tree in order create an incident of the magnitude required to get the Councils attention. Now, Peggy, when are we seeing Ashley Hardwick? Peggy: Tomorrow morning. Patricia: Right. I’d better get all my legal facts straight. We’ve got less than 24 hours to establish our Kingdom. Peggy: Kingdom? (The wheels are turning in her mind). Kingdom, right. Patricia: Gentlemen, you’d better go shopping. Peggy: I’ll go along with the boys. I need to pick up some fabric, and some other things. OK?

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Doug: (Shrugging) Sure. Don’t worry Howie, what could possibly go wrong? Howie: (Not so sure) Yeah, what could go wrong? Doug, Howie and Peggy exit, on a mission Patricia: (Looking at her watch and feeling very excited) I’ve got a lot of paperwork to submit to the courts, pronto. (She exits). Shirley: (Looking out at the audience and grinning wickedly) Kaboom! Black out. ACT TWO Scene 1. The United Kingdom of Seniors Renaissance or “Ye Olde” music plays. The lights come up to reveal the royal court of the United Kingdom of Seniors. Everyone is in Renaissance Fair costume. Elizabeth is dressed as Queen Elizabeth the First and sitting on a throne. Doug is dressed as a Knight, complete with sword and a mace. Shirley is a Town Crier complete with large bell. Peggy is a Lady in Waiting working on a cross stitch and Patricia is a Court Advisor with several scrolls tucked under her arm. Howie is the Court Jester (holding juggling balls) and none too pleased. Howie: He’s got a sword. How come I don’t get a sword? Patricia: Because you’re not a knight, you’re a “fool”. Howie: I’m a jester.

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Peggy: A jester in the Royal Court doesn’t have a sword. He has juggling balls. Shirley: (Ringing her bell) Hear ye! Hear ye! Shut the hell up! I’ve got a bit of an issue with this Royal Court deal. Not particularly democratic is it? All a bit Bourgeois. Peggy: (Pointing to Elizabeth) It makes sense for her to be queen. Queen Elizabeth. Shirley: Well what’s wrong with Queen Shirley? Howie: I want a sword too. A jester can have a sword and juggling balls. Patricia: You want to be queen? Shirley: No, royalty’s Bourgeois. Patricia: So what’s the problem? Howie: What happens if I have to defend the Queen from Viking invaders. A couple of juggling balls isn’t going to stop them. Peggy: You could throw them at the Vikings. Shirley: The problem is that it’s authoritarian. That’s the problem. Howie: They’re soft! My balls are soft! A six-foot-four, red bearded Viking, who eats children for breakfast, is hardly going to be stopped by a jester chucking juggling balls at him. Shirley: I’m not supporting a totalitarian regime! Howie: How about a dagger then? I could have it in a little sheath on a belt. Doug: You can have this (offers his mace to Howie). Howie: What is that? Doug: It’s a mace. Peggy: Yes, but we’re only pretending, Shirley. Howie: I’d rather have the sword, Doug.

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Shirley: That’s not the point. Royalty is about oppression. I want a free Tibet. (She gives her rallying call) Free Tibet! (...and everyone ignores it to her annoyance). Doug: (Offering the mace again) This is still good. You swing it around and clock blokes in the head with it. Howie: Nah mate, I like the sword. Give me the sword? Patricia: What has any of this got to do with a free Tibet? Shirley: It’s the principle! Doug: No. I want the sword. You can have the mace. Patricia: Shirley, you’re missing the point. We need some kind of physical expression, “demonstration” if you will, of our separation from normal society. This is just a demonstration of that for the media. Peggy: Yes, exactly. Shirley: That’s another point I’d like to raise. (Rings her bell) Hear ye, hear ye. We’ve not had a single demonstration or sit-in. Howie: (Momentarily joining in the other conversation) Or bra burning. Shirley: Or bra burning, thank you Howie. Howie: You’re welcome. Shirley: We’ve just taken on the trappings of a bourgeois totalitarian, authoritarian, state. Peggy: I was up all night sewing these, Cherub. You could show a little gratitude. Howie: I want a sword. Doug has one. Shirley: And I want a free Tibet! Patricia: This has nothing to do with Tibet! Shirley: Exactly! The scene erupts into a argument. Elizabeth slowly stands up and raises her hands to quieten the crowd. Everyone stops and looks at her. 44


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Elizabeth: (Regally she gives the following speech) I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king - and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I myself will take up arms - I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. (She acknowledges Doug) Lieutenant-General Leicester. * (Adapted from Queen Elizabeth's Tilbury speech, made on the eve of the Spanish Armada in 1588) Doug: Three cheers for her majesty! Hip! Others: Ra! Doug: Hip! Others: Ra! Doug: Hip! Others: Ra! Elizabeth nods her head in recognition of the cheers and gracefully exits. Patricia: Well I think that’s settled. Shirley: Good enough for me. Queen Elizabeth was all right. She challenged gender stereotypes well before her time, anyway. Doug: You can have the sword if you like. Howie: Nah, you keep it “Leicester”. Peggy: Look at everyone playing so nicely together. Patricia: Now, let’s get down to business. Peggy: Let’s raise the flag and sing the anthem. Howie: We have an anthem? Patricia: We have a flag? Doug: We have to sing? 45


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Shirley: We’ll be printing stamps next. Howie: And money. Peggy: Of course. Leave that to me. Right, let’s get this up. (She takes a flag out of a bag and carefully unfolds it). Ta da! The flag is large, with a single red star in the middle. It is attached to a flag pole and raised to a stunned silence. Patricia: (Breaking the silence) Why a red star? Peggy: It symbolises the blood of our enemies, Cherub. Patricia: Of course it does. Peggy: Now, I thought that we should sing to a tune we all know. Others agree that is a good idea. Howie: What tune did you have in mind? Peggy: Twinkle, twinkle little star. Shirley: Oh for goodness sake! Peggy: (Ignoring her) Then we don’t have to learn a new tune. Patricia: What about words? Peggy: Thought we might as well keep the same words. Patricia: Of course. Howie: (Rolling his eyes) Brilliant. Shirley: (Protesting) Nursery rhymes are all a part of the indoctrination of children by the bourgeois Patricia: (Interrupting her) Free Tibet! Shirley: (Reacting instinctively) Free Tibet! (Pause) What was I saying? Doug: (Approaches the flag, salutes and starts singing) “Twinkle, twinkle, little.. The others join him. At the end of the song Ashley Hardwick enters with her tripod, camera etc.

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Ashley: (Entering) What the hell are you old people doing? This had better be good. And keep her (Shirley) away from me. Shirley: What have I done? Ashley: Listen, they have finally trusted me with the TV van so this had better not be geriatric Shakespeare. You’ve promised me something big. If I don’t come back with something outstanding they’ll never let me use it again. I get this right and I could get a cameraman to boss around. Patricia: So much for the lone wolf. Ashley: So, what have you got for me? Shirley: Terrorist attack. Ashley: What did you say? Shirley: You heard me, you stuck up little tart. Terrorist attack. We’re attacking at the heart of the Bourgeois-capitalist-machine with a terrorist attack! Ashley: A terrorist attack? Howie: Yeah. On a Jacaranda. Ashley: Jacaranda? Peggy: Tree. Ashley: A terrorist attack on a tree? What the hell are you talking about? Patricia: A Council tree. Shirley: A bourgeois-capitalist tree. Ashley: (Laughing ironically) That’s good. That’s real good. I’ve been duped into bringing the TV Van to a retirement home Patricia: Village. Ashley: Whatever, to be given a scoop on a terror attack, (pointing to Shirley) by Mona Lisa here, on a Jacaranda! Shirley: That tree had it coming.

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Peggy: (Not looking up from her cross stitch) I think you might be underestimating us, Cherub. Ashley: (Challenging her) Really? Peggy: Oh yes. When that ton of explosives goes off, and that tree comes down Shirley: Bourgeois-capitalist tree! Peggy: I have a feeling that this town is never going to be the same again. Ashley: Really? Peggy: Oh yes, Cherub. Now you can be the media centre of all this, or not. It’s entirely up to you. But either way there is going to be an explosion, and there will be fire engines and police cars and one very, very dead Jacaranda. Perhaps we should have called Tom Blackmoore? Others get excited about Tom Blackmoore. Ashley: No! OK, I believe you. Almost. Show me this bomb. Shirley: Don’t you want our names? Ashley: Alright, give me your names! (Takes out a note pad) You, creepy guy. Howie: Howard MacLaine. Shirley: He used to sell cars in Sydney. Ashley: Fascinating. You. Peggy: Margaret Jonestone. Shirley: Seamstress for Bennett Suits. Till they shipped it all to China. Ashley: (Rolling her eyes) Oh the geopolitical drama. Next! Shirley gives Ashley the fingers behind her back. Patricia: Patricia Carter. Shirley: Former High Court Judge! Ashley: You’re kidding. How did you end up here? Now there’s a story.

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Patricia: No, there’s no story, and please don’t mention the Judge thing.... rather not draw my colleagues into disrepute by my actions. Ashley: Yeah, whatever. Right, let’s take a look at this bomb. Shirley: What about me? Don’t forget me! Ashley: How could I forget you? Shirley: Shirley Sharpe. That’s right, the Shirley Sharpe from the 1968 textile manufacturers lockout. Ashley: The what? Shirley: You know, the 1968 textile workers lockout. (Chants) What do we want? Back in! When do we want it? After smoko! (Repeats it again). Not quite the chant everyone was expecting. Shirley: Well, you had to be there I suppose. Patricia: Doug, Howie, take her to the... let’s not call it a bomb. Shirley: IED. Doug: Huh? Shirley: (With relish) Improvised explosive devise. Patricia: Right. Then come back here and we’ll tell you what’s happening next. Ashley is starting to feel a little worried. Doug: C’mon love. Let’s go have a look at her. (As they exit) Doug Patterson's my name. Bomb expert. They exit. Patricia: Do you really think there will be police and fire engines? Peggy: Oh yes Cherub. I think you should take a look at what Doug and Howie have put together. Patricia: (Looking out the window towards the “trailer bomb”) How worried should I be? Shirley: (Grinning wildly) Ka-boom!

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Lights fade out. Scene 2 Ka-boom... KA-BOOOOOM! Later, back in the community lounge. Ashley is setting up her camera. Patricia: Shouldn’t there be a wick or something? Howie: A wick? We’re not lighting candles on a birthday cake, Patsy. Peggy: You know she means a “fuse”, Cherub. Shirley: I was picturing one of those little boxes with a red switch. Click and Ka-boom! Or a box with a plunging handle. (She demonstrates) KABOOOOOM! Howie: Given the amount of explosives on that trailer, and the distance we have to be from the blast, Doug’s got what he calls “a more practical solution”. Doug enters with a rifle... something that looks big enough to destroy a tank. He walks over to the window and begins preparing for his shot at the trailer. The others are in a state of shock. Howie is smiling at the situation. Howie: See? Peggy: It's very "Lee Harvey Oswald", isn't it? Patricia: (Finally breaking the silence and talking as if to a child... slowly, gently) Doug, what are you doing, Doug? Shirley: I’d have thought that was pretty bloody obvious, Pats. (She points at the gun) Ka-boom, (points at the trailer) KA-BOOM!!! Peggy: And revolution arrives at the Sunshine Retirement Village. Patricia: That’s it. I’m now officially getting cold feet. Ashley: You’re out of your freakin’ minds! (Pause) This is fantastic! (Taking control) Right, what I need, is for Ned Kelly here, to come back in the door again so I can get you setting up. And I need you lot in the frame, standing with steely resolve. (Thinking out loud and pushing 50


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everyone into position) You’re all standing there, I introduce the scene, you lot raise your fists to the air and yell something dramatic, Ned Kelly you enter and go to the window, I focus in on the trailer in the background while keeping the sharp shooter just in shot. He fires, the trailer blows up, and it’s the six o'clock news. Perfect. OK Ned, out you go. I’ll tell you when to enter. (Doug exits with the rifle as told). Patricia: I think we should pause a moment to check the sanity of this. Howie: Oh so now you want to be the voice of reason? You were very happy with the plan when I was being the grown up. Shirley: We’re past the point of no return. It’s too late to stop it now. Howie: The tilt of the see-saw. The crack in the dam... Patricia: No it’s not too late. This is not what I was picturing. Peggy, you’re a reasonable person Peggy: Like I said, Petal. You need to own this. Patricia: (Appealing to Ashley) Ashley, surely you can see this is mad. Ashley: This is completely mad! Why do think I’m still here?! Patricia: Howard? Howie: One word. Two syllables. Shirley? Shirley: Ka-boom! Howie: Exactly. Patricia: (Looking around and seeing she is getting nowhere and giving up) Alright. Alright. Ashley: What are you going to yell for the camera? Shirley: I’ve got this covered. There are the classics: "Viva la Revolution!" and “Power to the people!”. But I have to admit I’m quite taken by “I am revolting!”. Peggy: I vote for “We are revolting”. Bit more united. Others agree. 51


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Ashley: Good, good, whatever. OK Ned, when this lot yell their slogan you come in. (She talks to the camera) Here I am at the Sunshine Retirement Village where the old people are revolting. Ashley signals to Howie, Patsy and Shirley. Others: We are revolting! Ashley: They certainly are. As you can see this old codger is Doug: Steady on there missy! Ashley: (Correcting herself) This “senior” codger is prepared to strike at the very heart of the enemy. An eight metre Jacaranda. Howie, Patricia and Peggy crowd around a window. Doug: Fire in the hole! Doug fires the gun and everyone prepares for the trailer to explode. It doesn’t. All are disappointed... except Patricia. Patricia: (Walking away from the window) Well, thank goodness for that. Suddenly there is an almighty flash of light and boom followed by the terrific sound of a tree smashing to the earth. Everyone except Patricia cheer. Ashley: Well, thank goodness for that! Doug: (Understating) Probably could have used a little less fertiliser. Smoke drifts in through the window. Ashley: That was incredible! The owner of that fence isn’t going to be too happy though. Patricia: What? (She rushes to the window and sees the damage done to her fence) No! No, no, no, no, no! Howie: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Ashley: Oh well, that’s the price you pay for media glory. Doug: Don’t worry, I can fix that. (Pointing off to the side) The owner of that TV van isn’t going to be too happy either. 52


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Ashley: What?! What’s happened to the van? Peggy: Don’t worry Cherub, that’s just the price you pay for media glory. Ashley: Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of equipment is in that van! Shirley: (Correcting her) Was in that van. Doug: Won’t be able to help you with that. Ashley: I’m screwed. Peggy: (Ever insightful) Didn’t know you had the van, did they? Ashley: (Reluctant confession) No. No they didn’t. Howie: (Going to the camera) Did you get it all on tape? Ashley: Don’t touch that! (She rushes to protect the camera). Shirley: Play it back. Let’s have a look at it. Everyone is very excited about this... even Patricia can’t help feeling excited. They all crowd around the little camera . Ashley: I’d better have got it. (Pleading to the heavens) Oh dear God, I’d better have got it. Get out of the way! They all watch it all played back. The audience hears the commentary by Ashley, slogan by the others, rifle shot and explosion etc. Everyone congratulates each other. Shirley: We are revolting! In the distance we hear the sirens of fire engines and police cars approaching. Patricia: Yes we are. We certainly are. Peggy: And you’re looking for a new job, Petal. Ashley: Yes I am. I certainly am. “Petal”. Shirley: (Wickedly) How much did you say that van was worth? Ashley: Two hundred and fifty thousand. Shirley: Ka-boom! 53


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Lights fade to black. Scene 3 The Pigs Are Back. Characters change back into their regular clothes during black out – except for Elizabeth. It is now several hours later. The police have come and gone. Ashley is seated filing her nails. Shirley is outside the open window smoking a cigarette. Ashley points to the No Smoking sign. Shirley gives her the fingers. Howie enters and notices Shirley outside the window. Howie: Why the hell did you tell them we had it all on film? Shirley: I was “sticking it to The Man”. Howie: You were “sticking it to The Man”? How the hell is that “sticking it to The Man”? (Dripping with sarcasm). You might as well have given them a video of us committing a crime. Oh yes, that’s right, that’s exactly what you did! Shirley: How was I to know they’d confiscate it as evidence? Howie: Because it’s bloody obvious, that’s how! Of course they would take it as evidence! It’s better than a signed confession, that is. We probably won’t even need to attend the trial. They’ll just play the video and pronounce us guilty. What sort of defence could we possibly have against a video recording of us doing it?! Patricia: (Entering) It’s not so much the video of us committing the act... it’s the clear intent that the video shows. There can be no interpretation of the events. (Ironically) It’s perfect. Shirley:You don’t have a clue about revolution, do you? Why would we blow something up and then pretend it wasn’t us? What were you going to say to them, it was an accident? Or we were just playing?

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Peggy: (Entering) It’s Doug I feel sorry for. We dragged him into this and he’s the one who’s really going to cop it. He made the bomb. He fired the gun. He got arrested. We’re just accessories. Shirley: He was hardly dragged into it. You saw how excited he was about it. "Very Judy Garland". Howie: But he didn’t really have a clue about what was going on though, did he? Patricia: Moving in with the Neanderthal is looking more and more appealing. Ashley: What are you arguing about? What did you think was going to happen when it was on the news anyway? Shirley: This was your idea Patricia: It was not! Shirley: Doing something dramatic, it was so! Howie: Anyway, our papers are at the courts so there’s no turning back, is there? Our legal challenge to the state of Australia proceeds at full speed. It's all speed wobbles and incontinence pads, now. Patricia: No, I didn't send them in, the papers. Howie: You didn’t? Shirley: I did! (She stubs out the cigarette and comes inside). Patricia: What? No you didn’t. They’re still on my table at home. Shirley: I dropped them down there this morning. Patricia: No you didn’t. Howard, I woke up this morning and thought how ridiculous this whole thing is. Blowing up a tree? I didn’t think it would actually happen. So I didn’t submit the papers to the court this morning. Shirley: I’m telling you, I did! Patricia: No Shirley, you didn’t. (Short pause) Did you? Shirley: Yeah, I was just in your place -

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Patricia: What were you doing in my house?! Shirley: (Evasively) That’s not important, what is important is that I saw the papers and dropped them off. Patricia: You were sneaking around my house? When were you in my house?! Shirley: That’s not important. I knew you’d chicken out, so I did it myself. Patricia: How can you sneaking around in my house not be important? Elizabeth: (Enters and stopping the conversation in the room) I shall desire you all, my lords, chiefly you of the nobility, everyone in his degree and power, to be assistant to me that I, with my ruling, and you with your service, may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. * (* Adapted from the GOLDEN SPEECH 1601, Queen Elizabeth 1st). (She exits). (Moment of stunned silence as everyone tries to figure out what they actually means). Shirley: Yeah, what she said. And I made copies for the press release. Patricia: Press release? Peggy: Good thinking Shirley. Shirley: Ashley's idea. Lucky I had a copy of all your correspondence with the Council over that tree to include. Patricia: Stop making copies of my mail and breaking into my house!! Shirley: (To Peggy) How’s that for grateful? Patricia: (Head in her hands) We’ll be the laughing stock of the whole town. I’ll be the laughing stock of the whole town. Howie: (Accusingly to Shirley) Which is why we needed the tape of the tree exploding. Shirley: I said I was sorry. Howie: No you didn’t! Patricia: Forget it Howard. It’s over. 56


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Ashley: (Innocently) So what would you do if you did have the tape? Shirley: (Challenging Patricia) Coggy, cog, cog. Patricia: (Something deep within snaps and she rises to the challenge) I’d go ahead. (To the surprised looks from the others) I would. Bugger them. I’d go ahead! Shirley is right, this is a revolution. Ashley: Really? Patricia: Yes. Really. Ashley: Lucky for you we have a back up then. Others: What?! Shirley: Yes! Ashley: On the flash drive. The camera burns one copy to the camera’s hard drive, and a backup copy to this. (She holds up a little flash drive). The quality takes a bit of hit, but it’s all here. Peggy: (Matter of factly) You took it out of the camera when we heard the sirens. I saw you. Patricia: Did you know what it was? Peggy: I had my suspicions. All a bit obvious really, Cherub. (To the others it really isn’t) The question is, what are we going to do with it? Ashley: (Wickedly) Actually, no... the question is what did I do with it? Howie: What did you do with it? Ashley: You old folk heard of the Information Super Highway? Shirley: The what? Ashley: The Internet. Patricia: Of course we have. Don’t be so patronising. Shirley: The what? Ashley: The Internet. Shirley: (Nodding) Oh that. (Pause) No. Patricia: Oh for goodness sake, Shirley! 57


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Shirley: What?! Ashley: So much for being patronising. Your little act of rebellion is now(The conversation is interrupted by a rapidly approaching police siren approaching). Shirley: The pigs are back! Patricia: (Reprovingly) Shirley! Peggy: Now there’s no need for that, Cherub. Shirley: (Rolling her eyes) Some revolution. Howie: (At the window) Yep, it’s coming in here. Patricia: (Panicking) Hide! There is a frenzy as everyone hides behind sofa’s, curtains etc. Patricia and Howie end up behind the same curtain. The police car is now right outside the lounge, lights flashing and siren blaring. The siren is switched off and we hear the car door slam as the Police approach the lounge. We see a uniformed officer pass the window and then enter the front door. It is Doug. Doug: Hello? There is a pause, and then Howie farts behind the curtain. Patricia stumbles out from the curtain choking. Doug: G’day. Patricia: Doug? The heads of the others appear from their various hiding places. Doug: Yeah. (There is a stunned silence from everyone. Doug points towards the car and explains) I stole a police car. (Pause) And a uniform. (Pause) And I locked a couple of cops in a cell. Patricia: Why? Doug: I’m not really sure. Think I might have got a bit carried away. Patricia: Really? Really, Doug? You think so? 58


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Howie: What are you going to do now? Doug: Dunno. Peggy: Well I don’t think you had any choice, Cherub. I think you’ve done the right thing. Howie: How on earth did you come to that conclusion!? Peggy: We’re a sovereign state, other countries can’t go around kidnapping our people. Free Tibet! Others: (Uncertainly) Free Tibet! Peggy: (Louder) Free Tibet! Others: (With a bit more conviction) Free Tibet! Peggy: (Louder still) Free Tibet! Others: (Full volume and defiant) Free Tibet! Ashley: (Loving the madness of it all) You’re all out of your freakin’ minds. (Black out). Scene 4. There Were No Taxi's Ashley's on the phone in the community lounge, Patricia is walking past and stops to listen to the conversation. Ashley is not aware of her presence. Ashley: So the facts as I understand them are that a 74 year old man escaped your custody and in the process locked two of your officers in a cell. (Listens and then smirks at the obvious spin she is being fed) You released him without charge due to his age and the officers were engaged in an unrelated training exercise in the cell? Well that makes perfect sense. Only thing that seems a little strange is that our 74 year old arrived home in a police car... that he had driven himself. How do you explain that? (Listens) There were no taxi's available? Oh come on, you're not even trying now. Listen, let's both pretend that's all true and I 59


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won't put it on the news. Deals off if you come back for him. OK? (She hangs up). Patricia: (Suspiciously) That's very kind of you. It would have made a great story. Ashley: Well, just because I'm a lone wolf doesn't mean I don't have a heart. (In response to Patricia's look of disbelief) Alright, it'd just be a distraction from the real story. Check this out. (She points to her open laptop). See that number there? That's the number of people who have watched the video of you lot blowing up that tree. Patricia: Oh dear. Ashley: (With relish) Oh dear, indeed! This is bigger than Doug's "Great Escape". Lights fade to black as Patricia tries to decide if this this good news. Scene 5. Howie's Joke. Doug and Howie enter. Throughout the scene Doug brings in and sets up a trestle table and chairs (it’s for a press conference but they don’t know that yet). Howie: So what are we doing? Doug: Ashley wanted the trestle table and chairs put out. Howie: Why? Doug: I don’t know. Howie: Well why didn’t you ask her. Doug: Ask her what? Howie: Why she wanted the table and chairs put out. Doug: Didn’t think to. I don’t care why.

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Howie: It doesn’t matter what it is, does it? I mean, as long as you’re doing something you’re happy. I admire that. In fact I’ll admire it from here. (He perches himself on the corner of a lounge suit). I love work... I could... (waiting for Doug to finish the saying. He doesn’t)... watch it all day. Doug: Eh? Howie: Watch it all day, mate. Work. Doug: I’ll sort this out. Don’t worry. Howie: You sure? Doug: Yeah. Let’s do what we do best. Howie: And what’s that? Doug: You talk, I’ll “do”. Howie: The man has a sense of humour after all. Doug: What do ya mean? Howie: Nothing, I’ll talk. You do. Doug: All right. Howie: I remember when my son told me he was gay. Doug: Gay? Howie: Gay. Doug: Must have been a bit of a surprise. Howie: Yeah, he thought so too. He said “Dad, I’ve got something to say to you that might come as a bit of a surprise. I’m gay. Doug: And what did you say? Howie: I said, it’s no surprise son. I’ve known for ages. Doug: How did you know? Howie: Well there was the fact that he mysteriously visited Sydney every year at the same time as the gay parade. Doug: Co-incidence? 61


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Howie: There was also the fact that at the gay parade every year he made the news on a float themed on Neptune. Doug: (Stopping at the memory) I think I might have seen that on telly. Howie: Yeah, that’s one hell of tub of jelly. Doug: I was thinking of the trident made of sausages actually. Howie: Well that’s quite some feat too. But no, the thing that really gave it away was more obvious than all of that. Doug: The way he dressed? Howie: Nah. Doug: Shaving where he shouldn’t? Howie: No mate. Doug: Bringing boy friends home? Howie: No, no. no much more obvious than that. Doug: What then? Howie: He’s always driven Fords! (He laughs). Doug: (No reaction from Doug) Right. Howie: (Trying again) Always driven Fords. Doug: Yeah. Howie: It’s a joke Doug. Doug: What is? Howie: About him driving Fords. I said Fords because you’re a Holden nut. Doug: So what does he drive? Howie: (Thinking) Fords actually. Doug: So your son’s gay? Howie: No! (Thinks) Don’t think so. Doug: But he drives Fords? Howie: (Wondering now if his son could be gay) Yeah. 62


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Doug: There ya go. Howie: Yeah, but so do I. Doug: (Looking sideways at Howie) None of my business. (He’s finished his work and scuttles off). Howie: (Calling out after him) Doug! It’s a joke! It’s just a... joke. Lights fade out on a very confused Howie. Scene 6 The Press Conference The media have assembled at the Sunshine Retirement Village and are represented by the audience. Stage lights represent the camera flashes and the questions from the media are played over the sound system. As the lights come up the community lounge looks deserted. Howie enters scratching his bum. Suddenly there are blinding camera flashes and a symphony of clicking of shutters. Howie stops dead, a rabbit in headlights. Howie: Shit! (He scuttles back out the door. After a moment his head slowly appears and the camera flashes etc. are repeated). Shit! Patricia enters the room from another door and is met by the same blinding camera flashes etc. Howie: Patsy, over here! Patricia: (Rushing over to Howie) What are they doing here? Howie: Well, just guessing but it’s probably something to do with a bunch of geriatrics blowing up a tree. Patricia: And locking a couple of policemen in a cell. Howie: Yep and that. And telling the local council they can stick it up their.... you know.

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Shirley enters and is met by the camera flashes etc. Shirley: Oh yes! (She strikes a pose) Free Tibet! (She proceeds to strike various defiant poses and as the cameras flash). Patricia: Shirley! Shirley! Get over here! Shirley: What? Patricia: Get over here. Shirley: (Reluctantly going over) What? Patricia: What’s going on? Shirley: Dunno. Ashley said to come over, she’s rounding up the others. Howie: Why? Shirley: Dunno. Ashley said to come over, she’s rounding up the others. Howie: Thanks for your valuable insights. Shirley: You’re welcome. (To the media, with Winston Churchill victory gestures) Free Tibet! Down with the Bourgeois! (She starts chanting) What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now! Ashley: (Entering) What the hell are you doing, Shirley? Sit down. You two, stop hiding and take a seat. (Calling off) Come on you lot. Get a move on! Patricia and Doug enter. Ashley organises everyone to sit at the trestle table. She sits at one end. The seat at the centre is left empty. Patricia: Who’s going there? Ashley: Who do you think? Your Queen. Howie: I don’t she’ll be up to this. Ashley: Well you shouldn’t have elected her as Queen then, should you? Bit irresponsible. Peggy: People can surprise you. (Elizabeth enters) Howie: All rise for the Queen! (Encourages audience to do so also). Doug: (Hand on heart starts singing) Twinkle, twinkle, little star... 64


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Everyone sings the “national anthem”, the audience is encouraged to join in by Howie and Shirley. Patricia is not sure what to make of it all. Ashley: Thank you for coming here today for this press conference. We ask you to show respect for the Queen, and keep your questions short. Reporter One: I understand this all started with a tree you wanted removed. Howie: That’s right. Reporter One: Don’t you think your actions have been extreme and could have jeopardised public safety? Patricia: I’ll take this one. Sometimes you have to yell in order to be heard! The destruction of that tree was a metaphorical raising of our voices, in order to gain the attention of a community, who had lost the ability to hear us. Shirley: Shit, she’s good. Reporter Two: What do you want to tell the community? Patricia: That we expect to heard, and the commitments made to us be honoured. Reporter Two: You’re referring to the rates discount for the elderly? Shirley: That’s “Seniors”, dickhead. Peggy: Nicely put, Cherub. Reporter Three: Do you see the irony of a former court clerk challenging the entire Australian legal system? Patricia: Oh dear. Howie: What? Actually, we are represented by a former High Court Judge. Thank you very much. Aren’t we Pats. Tell them. Patricia: I may have stretched the truth a little there, Howard. Howie: Ha! (Shrugging) Oh well, good on ya. Yes, then there is a fair bit of irony in that, then. Ha! Shirley: The establishment can stick that up their jaxsie!

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© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Peggy: Nicely put, Cherub. Reporter Four: But why should you be treated any differently from anyone else in the community? Shirley: Because we're old, you little upstart! Patricia: I'll take this one too, Shirley. It is accepted amongst all developed nations that indigenous peoples should have certain exclusive rights. This is due to their position of terrestrial pre-existence. Simply put they were here first. As seniors, we pre-exist you here, we have terrestrial pre-existence. Shirley: Like I said, we're old. So you can stick it up your jaxsies! I think I'm getting the hang of this. Peggy: You're doing very well, Petal. Reporter One: The video recording of your rebellion is receiving world wide attention. What would you like to say to other senior communities? Howie: I'll take this one, Patricia. It's time to stop being pushed around by ya kids. If you don't like how you're being treated, then tell them to... Shirley? Shirley: Stick it up their jaxsies? Howie: Exactly. Shirley: I thought so. Reporter Two: What will it take for you to give up your Kingdom and return to Australia? They all look at each other. Obviously they haven't thought about this. Patricia: Our rates discount restored, for a start. And better consultation and representation by the local council. Others: Yeah/Yes Reporter Five: Can we have a statement from your Queen? Howie: No you bloody can’t. Ashley: We’ll stop there I think -

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Elizabeth: (Interrupting) To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it. It is my desire to live nor reign no longer than my life and reign shall be for your good. And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving. (* Adapted from the GOLDEN SPEECH 1601, Queen Elizabeth 1st). At the end of the speech Elizabeth slumps onto the table. She appears to be dead. Patricia: Elizabeth! (Searches for a pulse) Elizabeth? (In a state of shock) Oh dear! Black out. Scene 7. The 6 O’clock News As the lights come up we see Shirley and Ashley outside the window smoking together. Obviously they're enjoying each others company. The others (minus Elizabeth) are moving the conference chairs etc off and chatting. Howie: I can't believe Elizabeth's no longer with us. Doug: She's gone to a better place Howie. Howie: Yeah, I know. Peggy: You always think you have more time, don't you? Patricia: It's a terrible thing to face... but we'll all have to sooner or later. Howie: (Not wanting to continue the conversation) Any way she's gone and that's that. (He rolls the TV out in front of the couch). Peggy: (Soothingly) It's alright Cherub. Howie: Yeah. (The chairs are all cleared) Call the others in Doug.

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Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Howie turns the TV on. Doug calls Ashley and Shirley in and everyone crowds around the TV and sofa. During the news report there is much cheering and shoulder patting. News report opening music plays. Voice of Reporter: The internet video sensation, of a group of seniors blowing up a council owned tree, has taken a new twist overnight after the "bombers" described their motivation for the blast to local reporters. Voice of Patricia: The destruction of that tree was a metaphorical raising of our voices, in order to gain the attention of a community, who had lost the ability to hear us. Voice of Reporter: The residents are referring to their dispute with their local city council over the removal of rates discounts for seniors. The residents went on to say... Voice of Howie: It's time to stop being pushed around by ya kids. If you don't like how you're being treated, then tell them to... Shirley? Voice of Shirley: Stick it up their jaxsies? Voice of Howie: Exactly. Voice of Reporter: In an unusual move the residents of the retirement village say they have split from Australia and established their own independent state. Voice of Reporter Two: What will it take for you to give up your Kingdom and return to Australia? Voice of Patricia: Our rates discount restored, for a start. And better consultation and representation by the local council. Voice of Reporter: All around the world Retirement Villages are establishing themselves as independent nations in a move of solidarity with the Sunshine Retirement Village... and telling their children to... Voice of Shirley: Stick it up their jaxsies? Voice of Reporter: Exactly. There has been no comment from the local council involved in the dispute, but it is understood pressure is growing for them to resolve the issue before further Jacaranda's are 68


Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

injured in this action. This is Tom Blackmore for Top News. Next news bulletin is at ten. News report closing music plays, lights fade to black. Scene 8. Another Revolt. Morning as per Act 1 Scene 1. Patricia is enjoying the sun and Howie is sitting in his usual chair. There is obviously something on Howie's mind. Patricia: For goodness sake Howard, what is it? Howard: Nothing. Patricia: Don't tell me you want permission to "release the hounds"? Howard: No. My liberation movement requires no permission from the... (giving up and sighing). It's all a little pathetic after what we've been through in the last few days. I don't think I'll ever fart again. I've lost all desire. From now on, if I do actually pass wind, which is unlikely, it will be per-functionary at best. Patricia: Well I'm glad to hear that. Howie: Yeah. Patricia: So what's bothering you? Spit it out. Howie: What are you doing here? Patricia: What do I do here every morning, Howard? Enjoy the sun. Howie: Yes, because there's a dirty great Jacaranda outside your place blocking the morning sun. Patricia: That's right. Howie: Only Doug blew that up. Patricia: Onto a TV van as I recall. Howie: Yeah. That was a marvellous sight.

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Patricia: I wasn't so convinced at the time, but I have to admit, I would describe it as "marvellous" now. Howie: Anyway, I may have mentioned that you fascinate me Patsy. Patricia: I seem to recall a fascination. Howie: So, what fascinates me is that you are here in the Community Lounge basking in the sun, as that very same sun streams over a five foot crater, next to your broken fence, and then in through your lounge windows. Patricia: And this fascinates you does it? Howie: Yes Patsy it does. And it leads me to believe that I have been right all along. Patricia: About what exactly? Howie: About you enjoying our morning constitutional. Patricia: Is that right? Howie: Yes it is actually. Patricia: Well, just to add to your fascination, I must tell you that I won't be coming here tomorrow morning. Howie: Is that so? Patricia: Yes, I'm baking raspberry slice tomorrow morning at my place. Howie: Really? Raspberry slice? Patricia: Yes. With Elizabeth's passing on, to the Three Oak Retirement Home, there is an opening in the market. I intend to exploit that with all the zeal of a... (thinks) very zealous type person. Howie: You won't miss our morning constitutional? Patricia: That is entirely up to you. Howie: Me? Patricia: Yes. Howie: And how's that? 70


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: Our constitutional doesn't have to be here, Howard. Howie: Doesn't it? Patricia: It just needs a room with plenty of morning sun... and ventilation. Howie: Are you inviting me over to your house tomorrow morning? Patricia: I understand you are something of an expert on raspberry slice. Howie: You could say that. Patricia: Excellent. Howie: You are a fascinating woman Patricia Carter . Patricia: Yes, I believe I am. Ashley rushes in (with video camera/tripod and newspaper tucked under an arm and waving a letter) followed by Shirley, Peggy and Doug. Ashley: Well Patricia, you’ve done it. (She holds up a letter). Patricia: What is it? Ashley: A letter to you from the Council. Patricia: How did you get hold of that? Shirley: It’s just a copy I made for her. (She hands a letter to Patricia). Here’s the original. Patricia: Stop stealing my mail! Shirley: You’re missing the point. Read it. Patricia: I don’t want you making copies of my mail, or sneaking into my house Howie: Just read the bloody thing, Pats. Patricia: Read it, Cherub. Ashley: Out loud for the camera. Shirley: You mean the audience. 71


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Patricia: Who? Shirley: Nothing. (Pointing into the audience and muttering) I keep forgetting we’re not supposed to know they’re out there. Ashley: Camera’s rolling Patricia. Patricia: Alright. “Dear Patricia”. That's a bit informal. Howie: Read the bloody thing. Patricia: Sorry. “We are pleased to inform you of the Councils decision to return rates discounts for seniors to pre August 5th levels. The Chief Executive Officer would like it noted that this decision has not be affected by your recent legal action and destruction of council property. Shirley: Bollocks! Patricia: “The Council has decided not to pursue legal action against your protest group due to the elderly nature of the participants”. Howie: Double Bollocks! Patricia: “Your Council prides itself on open communication and fair representation across the community”. Peggy: Triple Bollocks. Patricia: “Yours etc.”. Peggy: Victory is sweat, isn’t it Cherub? Patricia: It all seems rather easy. (Laughing, to Shirley) We should take a trip to Tibet. Shirley: We bloody well should. Ashley: I just need one more thing from you all, before I (She pauses dramatically) leave. Howie: Where are you going? Ashley: I've been offered a news job in Germany. Apparently they like my "direct manner and no nonsense approach to the acquisition of news". Howie: I think you'll fit in there just fine. 72


© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Ashley: (Setting up video camera) Anyway, I need one last thing from you lot before I go. (She rounds them up in front of the camera). Patricia: (Suspicious) And what’s that? Ashley: What’s your response to the Government's decision to cut pensions for the (she smirks) “elderly’. Others except Shirley: What?! Shirley: The bloody buggers! Peggy: You’re kidding! Ashley: Nope. (Holds up a newspaper showing a headline "Government to cut pensions"). All are horrified. Peggy: Looks like Tibet is going to have to wait. Shirley: That’s it, I’m revolting! Peggy are you revolting? Peggy: Yes I am! Patricia, are you revolting? Patricia: No, but I will join your revolt. Shirley: Welcome aboard. Howie are you revolting? Patricia and Peggy: Yes! Howie: (Smiling wickedly) Apparently I am. All except Doug: Doug? Doug: I can probably help you with that. All: Ka-boom! Black out. The end.

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© 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Props List Classic car magazines and newspapers for Howie Letters – to Doug Patterson Letters to Patricia Carter Stones (that Shirley places on Doug’s letters) Plates of raspberry slice Handicrafts for Peggy Microphone Video camera on tripod UN Charter Laptop or tablet pc for Ashley Headphones Telephone Juggling balls - Howie Mace - Doug Bell - Shirley Scrolls - Patricia Sword - Doug Gun (rifle) - Doug Flash drive – Ashley Crown – Elizabeth Notebook and pen – Peggy Ashtray and cigarettes – Shirley Flag – Peggy Newspaper – Ashley (with a headline "Government to cut pensions") Sound Effects 74


Š 2011 Devon Williamson The Old People Are Revolting

Farts (x 3) Police sirens Gun shot Huge explosion Camera flashes Reporters questions (as per script) Tom Blackmoore and others for TV report (as per script) Set List Community Lounge sign Flag pole TV Lounge chairs Various wall pictures and decorations Vases of flowers etc. Village phone and phone list Press conference chairs

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The Old People Are revolting - Australian Edition  

The Old People Are Revolting! is a hilarious comedy about seniors seeking revenge! The residents of the Sunshine Retirement Village have had...

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